Marilyn and Roger Reeck (third and fourth from left) with their four daughters and their families, at the wedding of Amanda and Amila.

Amanda and Amila.

Amanda Reeck was married on May 20 to Amila Jayacody. The wedding was held in Comfort, Texas. Amanda is one of four daughters of Wycliffe missionaries Roger and Marilyn Reeck, who are endorsed missionaries with UB Global living in Honduras. Amila is from Sri Lanka.

Roger and Marilyn recently traveled to Colombia to participate in a workshop for 43 Venezuelan translators from six different Indian groups. Marilyn wrote, “Being with this dedicated group of people was truly a wonderful experience. It is sad to hear of their experiences back home in Venezuela–the lack of food and finances. The group of consultants each took gifts for them–clothing, toiletries, etc. Many said that they had not been able to purchase new clothes in several years. There were so many sad stories. The situation is very serious.”

Roger worked with two different translation groups, and Marilyn held Trauma Healing sessions and assisted in other ways.

Said Marilyn, “Praise God that it came at a time in their lives when the Venezuelans really have many hurts. Over one million people have left Venezuela and migrated to other countries in South America. Besides all the daily difficulties, families are now separated and hurting.”

On June 4, Roger and Marilyn traveled to Guinea Bissau in West Africa. They will be there unti July 7. Roger will check the Sonike and Flupe translations. The Sonike people are a Muslim group.

 

Jeff Bleijerveld (right), Director of UB Global

With so much in the national news these days, there has been little said about the violence that continues to plague Nicaragua. At present, the country remains paralyzed following the recent failure of talks negotiated by the Catholic Church between the government of Daniel Ortega and protesters. To date, 83 people have been killed in violent clashes, the vast majority of whom are youth and university students.

In the city of Masaya, where the United Brethren in Christ are headquartered, protests, looting and violence continue day and night. Masaya has symbolic significance to Nicaraguans, as it was here, 40 years ago, that the Sandinista National Liberation Front, launched a fearless and violent uprising against dictator Anastasio Somoza and troops loyal to him, which later plunged the country into a near civil war.

We received an email from the United Brethren national leader, Rev. Armando Lopez (right), who lives in Masaya. He said mortar fire has destroyed the roof of the Aposento Alto UB church and parsonage. Stores have been looted, barricades block traffic, government buildings have been burnt to the ground, and what food is available is extremely expensive. Throughout the country businesses, schools, and factories are on lock down.

Rev. Lopez is asking for our financial assistance so that they can provide food packets for the most needy in their communities and materials to repair the damage at the Aposento Alto Church. He believes they can repair the church and parsonage for about $500. We’re hoping to raise another $1500 to help them provide 100 families with packets of food.

You can send your gift marked “NICARAGUA RELIEF” to:

UB Global
302 Lake Street
Huntington IN 46750

UB missionary Erika Pacheco painting with a Thai youngster.

Thai children proudly display their painted creations.

Our team of missionaries in Chiang Rai continue building relationships with neighbors in an effort to gain their trust and establish rapport. One of many ways they have been doing this is by having children in to paint pictures. Looking at these photos makes us wonder which of these children might be the first to become a follower of Jesus, or perhaps even a leader of the church in Thailand.

Does your church have an activity or special skill they could pass on to the team? Perhaps you could even travel to Thailand to share your talents. Contact UB Global us if you have some ideas.

L-r: Greg Fiedler (former missionary to Sierra Leone), Elaine Metzger RN, Dr. Dan Benson (third-year family medicine resident), Dr. Jereme Long (ER physician who is excellent at teaching ultrasound), Dr. Kevin Dougherty (fourth-year ER resident), Dr. Mike Schuhknecht (surgeon), Dr. Ron Baker, Dr. Doug Tacket (family medicine residency director).

Dr. Ron Baker is leading a team of medical volunteers to the Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone for two weeks. Be in prayer for them as they minister health and well-being, but also care for the spiritual needs of their patients. This is the first medical team traveling to Mattru that will have the benefit of 24 hour-per-day electricity.

Seth and Becca Mallay and children.

Seth and Becca Mallay are UB Global endorsed missionaries serving in Togo with World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse. Seth is a family physician.

They received news this week that their oldest daughter, Arwen, has stage four neuroblastoma which has metastasized to her bones.They have been told to expect about two years of rigorous treatment.

Clearly, this changes their plans regarding medical missions, but they are not deterred from their mission. They reject discouragement, but accept that their timeline is being altered out of necessity.

Seth felt the call to become a fulltime medical missionary as a child, and remained committed to this call throughout medical school and residency. Becca was raised on the mission field in Brazil, and from a young age felt called to fulltime mission work in Africa.

The Mallays are members of Hillsdale UB church in Hillsdale, Mich. If you are interested in helping them financially, a good friend has set up a GoFundMe account for them.

Rev. Armando Lopez was elected as the new superintendent of Nicaragua Conference. He replaces Rev. Juan Pavón, who has served in that role for over 12 years.

Born in 1949 in the city of Granada. His parents pastored a small church. Armando can’t recall when he made the decision to follow Jesus, but he distinctly remembers preaching the Gospel as a child in bus stations and marketplaces. When Armando graduated from high school at age 17, he was determined to become a minister. In fact, all of his siblings are serving as pastors today.

In 2004, Armando was introduced to the United Brethren and has served as pastor of the Camino de Fe church in Niquinohomo, where he has also served as the area cluster leader. Armando is passionate about evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. It is his desire to lead our 30 Nicaraguan churches in multiplying themselves.

L-r: Heleen and John Yoder, Cathy and Richard Toupin (front), Matthew Asher, Pamela McKee, and Michelle Harris.

Michelle Harris, associate director of UB Global

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

In September, I traveled to Sierra Leone to visit our Mattru Hospital team. For five days in Mattru, we focused on the work at the hospital. It’s a busy place—for the medical staff as well as our engineering team. The November Worldview newsletter gave a glimpse into the routines of our staff in the article “Three Times a Day.”

Getting the group together at Mattru is a challenge. Someone is always either on call or needed on campus, so though the team meets weekly, a retreat needed to take place elsewhere. So, we traveled up to Freetown where we stayed at a simple, but beautiful place.

There were seven of us. I was joined by Dr. Jon and Heleen Yoder (doctor and nurse), Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin, nurse Pamela McKee, and Matthew Asher, an engineer working on the solar and water project at Mattru Hospital.

The lodgings were simple—beds with mosquito nets, and fans that used solar power to make it mostly through the night. Showers were mostly a trickle of cool water. Our meeting place was an open area above the restaurant where we arranged our wooden chairs with cushions in a U shape so we all had a view of the water as we talked and sang and prayed.

Our foundation in scripture was Psalm 23 and John 6:35, focusing on Jesus as our very good shepherd, who provides bountifully for us. We grounded our discussion of the challenges of culture shock in wise words from Ajith Fernando, Youth for Christ Director from Sri Lanka. His book, The Call to Joy and Pain, reminded us that suffering in ministry often flows from our commitment to people, and that Paul’s words to the churches are filled with both joy and pain. We worked through the realities of culture shock and tasks for people in their first term of service.

And we rested. Some of us slept in, using the 9:00 am starting time as the beginning of breakfast—omelets or crepes. Others took boats across the bay to have early morning walks on the beach. We worked our way through the menu, comparing dishes like fish and chips, Thai curry, and bruschetta—it was all good. We took advantage of free coffee, served in small white teacups with cream and sugar. Some of us napped in the afternoon, some walked on the beach and swam in the ocean. We took turns on the hammocks and listened to bird calls. We played games and laughed after dinner. We talked and sang and prayed.

Our Shepherd restored our souls.

Betty Ruedger Guenzler

Betty Ruedger Guenzler, 83, passed away November 19, 2017, in Mount Carroll, Ill. Betty served three terms as a United Brethren missionary nurse at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone, 1963-1971.

The funeral service will be held at 11 am on Tuesday, November 28, at the Mount Carroll Church of God, with visitation one hour beforehand.

Betty became a Christian at a young age, and graduated from high school in Mount Carroll, Ill. She entered nursing school in Lansing, Mich., and during her final year sensed God calling her to become a missionary nurse. After graduating, she enrolled at Huntington College to study the Bible. While at HC, she applied for service with the UB mission board.

Mission director George Fleming said her duties during her three terms at Mattru included surgery supervisor, ambulance driver when needed, teaching in the nursing school, bookkeeping, and head nurse. During part of that time, Betty served alongside Juanita Smith, who was also from Mount Carroll (Juanita’s father, Cecil, pastored the Mount Carroll UB church). Juanita served 12 years at Mattru, 1953-1965.

Charles Guenzler and Juanita Smith were married in 1965. After Juanita became ill, Betty Ruedger was among a group of missionary nurses who came to Mt. Carroll to help Charles care for his wife. After Juanita’s death in 1981, Charles and Betty stayed in contact.

Charles and Betty were married on June 8, 1985. They enjoyed 32 years of married. Charles, at age 93, passed away on October 28, 2017. Betty died 22 days later. (Read her obituary notice.)

Lizzy Kolar and Matt Asher (right) with the water packing equipment now installed at Mattru Hospital.

Matthew Asher has been serving at Mattru Hospital since February 2017. He left his engineering job to become the lead engineer for the solar and water projects at Mattru Hospital. The Sola Wata Water Packaging Center was launched in July, becoming the area’s first center for treating, packaging, and distributing water.

In September, Matt was joined by Lizzy Kolar, a fellow graduate of West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Kolar, a mechanical engineer, is taking a three-month sabbatical from her job with General Electric to work on the business side of the water project–marketing strategies, data management, employee training, work procedures, etc. She will also help Matt install the solar-energy system at Mattru.

Here is a good article about Matt and Lizzy, published by their alma mater.